Welcome to Elaine Wickson’s book tour for Planet Stan. We have been super excited to share this book with everyone 😀
Stanley Fox might as well be a planet seeing as his younger brother Fred buzzes around him like an annoying satellite all day long. They say we’re made of stardust, but Fred is 70% annoying and 30% fart. Brotherhood is supposed to be about developing fellowship and understanding not developing a snail collection under your bed. Why can’t Fred come with diagrams like his 1001 Space Facts Book?
Luckily life on Planet Stan comes with pie charts, survival kits, top tips, bruv bingo and the most complicated Venn diagram ever drawn (probably).
As Stan tries to figure out what on earth he and his brother have in common, he charts all the ups and downs of his life in a series of hilarious infographics in this highly-illustrated and visually-appealing book.
Planet Stan is the out-of-this-world guide to sibling survival, and the first in a series of three.
I live in Oxford with my husband and two sons, and have written stories since knee-high socks.
Some of my many jobs have included school photographer, film extra, potato-peeler, and barmaid. I also worked within the media industry for both local radio and newspapers, but it was a visit to the Oxford Literary Festival that rekindled my passion for writing. Listening to authors and illustrators talk about their work ignited the imagination in my long dormant brain.
Nowadays, if I’m not star-gazing, I’m often found in my Plotting Shed at the bottom of the garden, where all my ideas germinate.
Top Tip: If you share a plotting shed with lots of woodlice, give them names – it makes them less scary.
You can read my fun facts, writing stories and sooo much more on Elaine’s website which can be found here —> http://www.elainewickson.co.uk
(He did the pictures)
Chris Judge is an illustrator, artist and children’s picture book author based in Dublin, Ireland.
His work is a mixture of illustration, painting and design, and has appeared in books, advertising, newspapers, magazines, exhibitions and interiors.
His debut picture book, The Lonely Beast, won the Irish Children’s Book Award in 2011.
You can find out more about him here.
My family once spent an afternoon walking around a museum full of marble statues. My eldest was six at the time.
‘Did they not have pants in the Greek ages?’ he shouted. A fair observtion, I thought, as it echoed around the hall. I kept notebooks containing all the gems my sons came out with when they were growing up. Like the time one of them forgot what their elbows were called and renamed them armbows, which made more sense. I treasure those notebooks. It’s like travelling back in time whenever I leaf through the pages. At the heart of Planet Stan are two brothers – Stan and Fred. They are +conal, but some of our time-travelling memories glimmer through the pages.
Stan and Fred were originally in another story, but were itching to be given their own. I soon found one when I read about Dippy the dinosaur being replaced with a blue whale at the Natural History Museum in London. I ticked through my notebooks and travelled back in time to when my youngest was five and first saw Dippy.
‘It’s a longosaurus!’ he shouted, in another hall.
There’s something magic about seeing your first dinosaur fossil, and the smaller you are the better. I remember mine: it was an iguanodon, in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which in itself resembles a dinosaur with its iron rib-cage roof. Although I also remember looking down at the spider crab and thinking nothing should have that much leg-to-body ratio.
Now I had my story: Fred, whose mission is to save the museum dinosaur, and Stan who just wants to focus on winning a telescope so he can study Jupiter’s moons. Because that’s what I’ve made my family do on countless winter nights, snuggled in sleeping bags on the lawn, sharing the binoculars.
‘I love looking up at the skyling,’ yelled the youngest, around 11pm, with no regard for neighbours. He may have been no match for Professor Brian Cox, but knew the planet closest to the sun was called Margarine.
I probably shouldn’t tell you about the time my three-year-old asked if we could ‘put the baby in the microwave’ after his brother treated us all to an intense week of teething. He just meant to shut out the noise, not actually cook him. But also in those notebooks are the dynamics of sibling-hood: the ‘You Should Know Betters’, the ‘Sharing and Other Myths’, the ‘Concept of Borrowing’. And that sparked a sort of Haynes manual for siblings. Stan is mighly organised, enjoys his me-time, and his 1001 Space Facts full of infographics. His younger brother needed to come with diagrams too, being a chaotic, disruptive Frednado. Planet Stan is filled with charts, top tips, and survival kits. There’s a handy bingo card to take to the restaurant that will just about cover the embarrassment of being out with your family; and the Five Levels of Humiliation, because who hasn’t been embarrassed by their siblings on a daily basis? The most important chart of all is a Venn diagram, as Stan tries to stand out what on earth he has in common with his brother. Like this conversation, now remembered fondly by my sons with a smile and an arm punch:
‘All around the planets and back to Earth, that’s how much I love my brother,’ said one, as he lovingly threw Nerf bullets at his head. To which the other replied, without looking up from his comic: ‘I love you to the radiator and back.”
As for snails, I definitely didn’t accidentally put one through the wash after forgetting to check a pocket and have a sleepless night about it and this is my way of making it up to them.
The most traumatic thing my eldest son remembers from his younger years? Not the seven stitches on his left leg, but the time he refused chocolate cake round his grandparents.
‘Why?’ he laments. ‘Just… why?’
If only he could travel back in time.
And who doesn’t love a book trailer!!
This book had me giggling the whole way through! If you have a younger sibling then you’ll definitely be able to relate to Stan and his younger and slightly grose brother Fred (snails n all!)
Stan goes into great detail about his life with his younger brother and the obsession he has over the dinosaur at the local museum, Fred has a great imagination, that sometimes gets Stan into a little bother unless he’s quick on the uptake. Now I have a little sister so my life isn’t as grose as poor Stan’s but I’m half way there! I have the bogies, the wanting to ‘borrow’ my stuff and the tantrums….. thankfully I’ve missed out of the farts!
I did feel sorry for Stan in some parts….. it’s like he’s always expected to look after Fred even though his Mum and Dad know he’s a little monkey but brotherly love really shines through towards the end of the book (I’m not going to spoil it for you) but it’s a heartfelt story from front to back with a giggle on every page 🙂 the illustrations really add to the story, from the fun chapter pictures to the fun MY GENERAL STATE OF MIND gauge.
A great fun read for all and I’m sure it will fly off our library shelf (we donate outlet review books to our community run library)